Thursday, March 8, 2007

Pi Day Activity Part Two

It may not display well but I'm posting an image of the second part of the Pi activity I posted the other day. This kept the group engaged for over a period. It may not help them to understand the deep meaning of pi or its relation to a circle but they definitely got a sense of the decimal representation of pi and struggled with some of the birthdates, since a simple Google search will not suffice. Do they now appreciate pi more? How will I assess the learning from this? I hope you will see that this was more than just meaningless busywork to keep them quiet! See if you can find all of the mathematicians in less than 10 minutes!


Eric Jablow said...

Did you run into problems with Gregorian/Julian birth dates?

Dave Marain said...

good question, Eric! i believe it only came up with fermat and i told them to use the 'new style' rather than the 'old style.'
BTW, they had the most difficulty with 4/11/1953, Andrew Wiles b'day. Of course, they were cruel with my birthday. One teacher in my department quipped, "Nice of you, Dave, to give them the century!"
Many students and adults really have not been trained properly in the effective use searches on Google and other search engines.
For example, using the string
we get Wiles immediately. But "famous mathematician April/11/1953" does not! Using +'s to refine the search is powerful but only one of many strategies than many are not aware of. When I look at the referring url's of some visiting my site I often see the search string they enter and I'm amazed. We need to train our students and adults better!!

Eric Jablow said...

Thhey might need to know the calender differences for future research. A historian can always point out thet the Russian October Revolution is commerated (or mourned) in November.